In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, I think its important to relay 3 quotes by the man that have resonated with me over the past couple weeks.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal."
"The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people."
I have not posted on my site, TotallyRandomConnections.com , since the night before the election of 2016. I have started some but never finished, I have thought about some great ideas but stopped cold in my tracks. There are several reasons for this but the main one has been the country's reaction to that election. The overall response left me personally resolute on one hand and yet incredibly forlorn on the other.
Post-election morning I logged onto Facebook and it was like walking into a street brawl on my feed. I said my piece and was immediately punched in the cyber face for calling out the misogyny, racism and Islamophobia that fueled the election results. Having recently become more docile on Facebook, I took this aggression to my stating what had been obvious for months as my cue to once again fight back. My attitude that morning was “if you come at the king, you better not miss.” I was verbally destroying those I perceived as miseducated, manipulated or just plain -ist/-phobic (racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, et al.). In the process, I was unFriended by ton of Facebook “friends” however I gained a ton of support from unexpected places and friends.
"Someone has to save our skins!" -Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan
My resolve was fortified by the sudden rise of those who, like me, believed that the election of Donald J. Trump was a despicable, grotesque mark on the face of all American history. Soon after the election I was bolstered by the nationwide peaceful protests and demonstrations rejecting the bigotry and hatred Trump represented. I felt where there was darkness there was suddenly overwhelming hope. Hope for better of humanity. Hope for the future. And hope for decency. The hopeful of us were being told to sit down and be quiet by the previous butt-hurt politicians and Fox News commentators, but nevertheless, we persisted. #TheResistance
Though energized by this new found desire to "right the wrongs" of the election I was also left feeling forlorn and dismayed. I was literally shocked by the number of people that were “proud” or happy that this man, who represented the worst of everything I believed in human kind, was elected to the office of President of the United States. I was distraught with the thought that after decades of progress and change for the better that the language and attitudes of bigotry and hatred were suddenly deemed almost acceptable in some corners of mainstream America. I was disappointed that such bigotry and sexism could so easily be ignored or supported by so many people.
I am not a pollyanna by any stretch. For years, we all knew the specter “Trumpism” existed, but it has been so looked down upon over the past decade. Of course people believe and speak as Trump does, but it was becoming unpalatable to espouse those views in the public. That old-school thinking was finally becoming anathema and ultimately people’s “drunk racist uncle” was beginning to be seen as a pariah or a joke a la Saturday Night Live. Trump however, has made it “cool” once again to be an Archie Bunker-style bigot. His style of bigotry of course has none of the charm of the Norman Lear "All in the Family" series nor does he even attempt to learn anything from anyone. His brand of bigotry is a crass, unwavering, unflappable white supremacy. His character, unlike Archie's, has no desire for redemption. He is the worst of the worst bigot, the unapologetic one. Even his motto (borrowed from Reagan) "Make America Great Again" is nothing but a dogwhistle for what he really wants to construe to "his base" which is "Make America White and Christian, and Straight, and Male Again." The racists hear it, understand it and revel in it. The Ku Klux Klan definitely gets it. Why else would The Crusader, a paper associated with the KKK, have endorsed Candidate Trump on their front page? Why would former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke sing the praises of Trump so publicly?
Yeah, this is normal...
Having policy discussions with people who disagree with me can be invigorating. Discussing the role or size of government, Tax policy, America's involvement in the world, etc. is all fair game and intellectually stimulating. Discussing politics with Trumpers is not any of these things. It's just all race, religion, sex, sexual preference and how Western/Eastern European culture is superior to all others. This subject wheelhouse became the apex of my Trump social media interactions. It was just a ton of people saying the most vile, despicable things as if they were factual and actual. I refused to let ignorance win also and I constantly engaged.
I eventually found after a couple of months that keeping up a level of energy to combat the madness on social media, standing up for what I and millions of others know is right, is exhausting. I tried to keep up the good fight on Facebook, but it all ended January 21, 2017. That was when I finally saw the writing on the wall and I was done. That was the day that Sean Spicer gave his first official press conference over the size of Donald J. Trump’s inaugural crowd. That carbon based life form (I just can't bring myself to refer to him as a man or human being for that matter) got to the WH podium and said that Trump’s crowd was larger than Obama’s crowds. The pictures made it so obvious that he was lying that Stevie Wonder, Andrea Bocelli and a dead Ray Charles could all see it but here was this gum smacking thug gaslighting all of us. I shut down. That day I became politically silent on Facebook and on my blog.
I realized that day that these people, under the lead of their orange overlord, would say and do anything to satiate his insatiable ego. I also knew that the GOP had a group of craven, sycophantic politicians who hated Obama and his legacy and were willing to capitulate Trump's every whim. They would do it to get the tax cuts and entitlement overhaul they so desperately desired all while solidifying a base of white supremacists. I realized this guy ran a 6 year campaign doubting President Obama being born here because he was a black man and rarely did anyone in the GOP call him on it. This was the long con coming to realization. He came up with the most ridiculous political gambit in history and it worked because there is a large (larger than I thought) contingent in America that was just plain racist and Donald J. Trump was abhorrent enough to tap into their biggest fears and racial animus. My energy and enthusiasm faded right there watching this farce. “DRUNK UNCLE!” I thought, “I submit.”
So here it is over a year later and in that period, Donald J. Trump has, true to form, been a dumpster fire. He has embarrassed the United States on the world stage several times and has smashed any goodwill President Obama rebuilt over his 8 years in office. Trump has caused more chaos in a year than any bull in any china cabinet could ever do in history. Here is just a list of things I thought of off the top of my head:
- Reversed the Keystone pipeline decision
- Tried to repeal Obamacare 3 times
- Fired FBI Director James Comey
- Left the Paris Climate Accord
- Left the TransPacific Partnership
- Reversed the Obama Cuba rules
- Created a back and forth ass showing contest with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un
- Started a Voter Fraud Panel to prove he won the popular vote (he didn’t)
- Repealed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
- Hired/Fired Bannon, Scaramucci, Preibus, Flynn, Gorka, OMAROSA(!)
- Pardoned Sheriff Joe of Arizona
- Bumbled the modern political layup by saying some Nazis/White Supremacists are “Good People”
- Insulted another Gold Star family
- Golfed almost 1/3 of this presidency (88 times in 345 days) (after complaining about Obama’s golfing) at a cost of nearly $47 million to the American tax payer
- Fanned the flames of the NFL kneeling controversy
- PUERTO RICO(!)
- THE INCESSANT LYING and
And these are just the hits in year one! This dude is like The Beatles of ineptitude. The Elvis of incompetence, if you will.
So with all that being written, in honor of the MLK holiday and my recent birthday, I have decided to no longer stay silent. I am going to attempt to get back to blogging on the regular about this “shithole” administration until they straighten up (not likely) or are gone (strongly possible by summer 2018). I'm also going to blog on all other things that get me riled up or excited or that upset me. I am going to get back to writing about the totally random connections that make our world turn from my perspective.
Look, I know, no one is reading this. If a tree falls in the woods, right? But I look at this blog game like Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who. I am just a Who, on a speck, on a flower out here shouting, hoping someone will hear me. As I shout at the top of my lungs, I realize I am just one small voice but maybe, just maybe, one day a big old elephant will hear me shouting and I can help him or her realize:
"A Person's a person, no matter how small." -Dr. Seuss
So here’s to speaking up and shouting out in 2018!
P.S. Full disclosure I have been all over the Trump administration on Twitter. Can't Stop, Won't Stop.
Follow me @StaffordBurns3